The Conspiracy

Jewish Student Interrupts AIPAC Session [AIPAC 2012]

Yeah, remember when I said Occupy AIPAC was going to be across the street from AIPAC Policy Conference? Well…they crossed the street.

Liza Behrendt, a recent graduate of Brandeis University and a current member of the Avodah service corps in New York, interrupted a session with the help of CODEPINK organizer Alli McCracken, shouting that she had been “silenced” as a member of Jewish Voice for Peace at Brandeis.

The session, called The Struggle to Secure Israel on Campus, featured Hillel International honcho Wayne Firestone. Behrendt interrupted him, waving a banner that read, “Settlements Betray Jewish Values.”

“I felt that the story of Palestinians, Palestine solidarity activists and even young Jews who are being silenced were not being told,” she said.

Behrendt cited a Hillel regulation that banned JVP chapters and any other groups that advocated for BDS (the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) from using Hillel spaces nationwide.

When I spoke to Firestone in his D.C. office, he told me that any group supporting BDS was banned from using Hillel space because that mission was antithetical to the continuity of a Jewish state in Israel.

“I believe our organization has a right to say who we are and what we believe in,” Firestone said, adding that the “destruction of Israel deeply offends me.”

Behrendt got into the conference “with some skill,” as she put it, even though she was not registered. She said she also objected to AIPAC’s support for war with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.

“AIPAC is not actually representing the interests of the American people, the Israeli people, the Jews of the world and certainly not the Iranian people and the future of peace and democracy in the Middle East,” she said.

Occupy protesters Katie Falkenberg and Paul Talbot also interrupted Sen. Carl Levin’s, D-Mich., address to AIPAC, shouting, ‘Don’t bomb Iran. Equal rights for Palestinians.’

Both groups were drowned out by attendees’ applause.

Levin didn’t seem to mind.

“I’m happy to talk over that, don’t let that worry you,” he said. “I just pretend they’re applauding me.”

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4 Older Responses to “Jewish Student Interrupts AIPAC Session [AIPAC 2012]”

  1. David Olesker
    March 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Hmmm… I wonder how JVP would characterize pro-Israel supporters who gatecrashed a private conference of theirs and disrupted a workshop. Let’s make it a multiple choice test:
    a) Legitimate expression of protest
    b) Attempt to establish dialog
    c) Fascistic silencing of dissident voices of Jewish youth by the corrupt establishment

  2. dave
    March 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Supporting BDS is the same as supporting Israel’s enemies. Get honest with yourselves and admit you are anti-Israel. You are not fooling anyone but yourselves.

  3. r
    March 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm #


    The sewer vermin of AIPAC should never be allowed to finish a single sentence. Drive them from our communities like the Nazi filth they are. OUT.

  4. Harpo Jaeger
    March 9, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    As someone who’s largely sympathetic to Liza’s message, I take issue with the idea that AIPAC shouldn’t be allowed to talk. Deciding who gets to be part of the Jewish communal dialogue is their specialty, not ours. Let’s not follow suit.

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